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This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: G.E. Co.
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: Horror Movie
A man gets into a stranger's electric car and goes to his house which if full of terrifying and dangerous electrical devices. What could possibly go wrong? Just don't go down in the basement.
Subject: Richy Dude in the mid 1910's
A well preserved film from 1915 shows a dizzying array of electrical appliances that were invented by that time. I'd like to know how many people actually used em then...probably not many, but the film is made by GE and obviously was designed to get people's salivary glands working...at least for the smaller things.
I love the central vacuum cleaner which was reintroduced in new homes in the late 50's; and that washing machine with all those wheels and belts that I'm mighty sure more than a few women got their hair pulled out while using em.
That was a huge house and lots of servants; equivalent to someone like Nancy Pelosi these days.
Fantastic window into the 'modern' (and affluent) household of 1915. What an absolute treat!
But it makes me cringe like hell. First off, they turn on their mechanical machines, then point out the workings of them with THEIR FINGERS! Then, they demonstrate how the toaster works, and flip the toast with their bare hands! Jesus, spent all yer money on the electric appliances, couldn't afford a pair of wooden tongs to flip the toast? I can only imagine how many people got bad burns from the appliances that boiled water (the coffee maker, for example), but that's just a comment on the devices themselves, not towards the film. And "Mr. Wise" certainly placed his soldering iron in a great place; watch yer head! I give it four stars because it's interesting; I would give it 5 if they had just been a bit safer.
Subject: Why is there a steam radiator?
Good question! Let's remember that electrical power was much more costly per Kilowatt-hour in 1915.
An entrance foyer is a drafty place.
An electric heater is radiant.
A hot water or steam heater heats by conduction;
it moves chilly air up, and sets up a natural circulation by passive convection currents.
The electrical heaters seen in this film are both used in close proximity to the subjects: cozy parlor, sitting room.
At any rate, the electrical heater was for spot heating. They worked well--premium service for a premium cost per BTU.
I first saw this film about 1980. It was in the form of a crystaline, perfect-quality 16mm print, presented by a buddy of mine who was an executive with Florida Power and Light. The print that Bob showed our collectors' group meeting that morning at our monthly meeting, was as clear as if it had been made the day before. I wish that print had been available for this transfer. It was the nearest thing to "like new" I had ever seen in in silent film (that's my recollection).
BTW, an infrared heater, of the type seen in the wife's sitting room, just sold (today that I write) on ebay--for $75. Not as ornate as the ones you see in the film (in the display window, see the other example), the ebay heater still works. No surprise in that.
BTW, "Come along in my electric" would be the standard expression. "Mrs. Jones got herself an electric to-day." Your hearer knew exactly what was meant.
I knew people who lived in that era. Natalie Allemang was married to a man who opened an electrical appliance store in St. Louis in that year of 1915. "My husband sold the first electric washing machine in St. Louis." (If I recall correctly today, Alle told me it was The Eden).
Subject: It isn't just for executions anymore!!
I really enjoy these early looks into "modern" technology, but one does have to wonder...If electricity is so great, why is the a big steam radiator next to the front door?
Subject: It's hard to be impartial to this,
Some people think I'm being totally unfair in my movie reviews. "You have to think what they were thinking at the time!" they say. I try to be fair fellow reader, but watching movies such as "The Home Electrical" just makes me scream out laughing and make me rush to the keyboard and comment on what I see. We start out when Mr Newhouse meets Mr Wise (Get it??? Get It??) Mr Newhouse wonders all about these newfangled electric devices. Mr. Wise asks Mr Newhouse to come to his house to view all his electrical appliances by taking a ride in his electric. Excuse me? HIS ELECTRIC? Do we take a trip on our gas? Is it too hard to say CAR? When they get there, they are welcomed by the wife of the household, and the tour begins. They see the Vacuum Cleaner (which operates from a hole in the wall, fair enough) and the sewing machine. But as you're watching this, you soon realize that as the wife shows us all her devices, it's apparent she doesn't DO any actual work on these machines, rather her SERVANTS do it. They go into the bathroom, where Mr Wise shows what appears to be a electric cup. Um ok. Anyways, the tour continues into the kitchen, to the oven and the laundry. Then you realize the CRAZY idea they had to put the electrical sockets AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE. Nothing like dangling cords hanging around for safety! The wife shows us more stuff, which purpose is never REALLY explained. They have lunch, then the men retire into the study to smoke a cigar using this huge looking electric lighter which looks like this stereo hooked up to a telephone reciever circa 1940's. Mr Newhouse, satisfied with what he's seen, runs home to tell his wife, leaving the Wise family to get warm, not by the fireplace which stands neglected in the den, but by what appears to be this giant heater, with the GE symbol just glowing just to hammer home who the sponsor of this claptrap is. A MUST SEE on this site!
Subject: the Home Electrical
This promo film is of immense historical value!
complete with courtesy and a maid. :)
seriously, it points out the uses that were then available and it brings to mind what we are not using now. the use of the electric car or any alternative to fossil fuels has been continually downplayed or actively opposed and suppressed by oil folks thru the years.
thank you for preserving this film.